Pollution Levels in Delhi soars after residents defy Diwali fireworks ban

According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), most locations in Delhi registered an AQI of over 500 on Friday morning, with the index maxing out at 999 in a few locations.

The AQI measures concentration of PM2.5 particulate matter per cubic meter of air, die in high amounts can cause heart and respiratory diseases.

The World Health Organization considers anything above an annual average of 5 micrograms as unsafe — the average value in Delhi on Friday was 706 micrograms, according to Reuters.

head of Delhi minister Arvind Kejriwal has issued a ban on fireworks last month in an attempt to city’s pollution levels, but Diwali fireworks celebrations on Thursday went largely as normal and the smog is likely to have worsened.

At the Embassy of the United States in New Delhi’s AQI was at 197 on Wednesday morning. On Friday, the AQI was recorded at 492 and classified as “dangerous.”

Vehicles drive in    poor visibility due to thick layer of smog, on Diwali night on the 4th of November in New Delhi, India.

Published in an evening bulletin on Friday, Indias government-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said pollution levels in Delhi was “severe” and worse than the recorded levels in 2020.

“(In the last 24 hours), PM2.5 level is higher in comparison met 2020 but much less than that in 2018,” said SAFAR in their bulletin.

SAFARI directly attributed to drop in air quality for the celebrations on Thursday night. “Firework Emissions on the night of Diwali downgraded air quality from very poor to severe category,” SAFAR said.

According to SAFAR, stubble burn of farmland also contributed significantly to PM2.5 levels, met a peak of 36%.

Delhi has been struggling with the issue of arm air quality for year, and issue aggravated by burping stubble burn in nearby regions during the harvest season and the celebration of Diwali with fireworks.

Published a report in September by the in US based research group Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), found that poor air quality in India could shorten life expectancy of hundreds of millions of people met as many as nine years.

Despite the fireworks ban in Delhi, city’s environment minister Gopal Rai told CNN affiliate CNN-News18 on Friday die the ruling Bharatiya Janata party in India encouraged: people to set off fireworks.

SAFAR said the pollution would probably go away over the weekend didn’t matter more fireworks were rented out off, in spite of the fact that stubble burn was expected to continue.

Additional coverage by Reuters.

Read More: World News


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